Will an individual investment product development role help towards actuarial consulting career?

An old contact mailed me a couple of days ago asking my view on two possible actuarial positions. He was interested in whether either would be suitable preparation for a consulting or actuarial consulting role in future. I thought the answer might be of broader interest, so I’m copying it, with a little editing to […]

Airlines and hedging – now there is praise

Was watching CNN last week, and heard that at least one major US airline, South West, has been making significant use of hedging to manage their fuel costs. Many other US airlines have not been hedging significantly. Another article mentioned that Lufthansa hedged around 83% of their fuel requirements for this year. Air France-KLM hedged […]

Optimism and flawed decision making

Behavioural finance is no longer a “new idea”. It has entered mainstream finance education through CFA, Business Schools, even actuarial exams (ST5 for UK and South African actuaries). Some of the biggest lessons revolve around how bad we as a species are at making decisions in the face of uncertainty. Emotional biases, overconfidence, loss aversion, […]

The wheels (of justice) turn. Just too slowly for Rudco.

“E.s.” commented on my earlier post: Too Good To Be True about the ridiculous proposition for turning lead into gold (offering fixed rates home loans in the South African Rand at 6% interest). The interesting thing here is that since Rudco’s initial plans were announced, interest rates have ticked up several points, and are likely to increase further in December (consensus from the market is currently around 50bps) and quite possibly again early next year. I’m sorry E.s., you clearly haven’t been reading the blogs and comments here and other places. To repeat the four themes: The business model is not viable therefore you should expect problems sooner or later. Rudco are in contravention rules, regulations and judgements, […]

Lucky versus skill

I’ve added the result of a quick random generation of possible outcomes of two types of individuals. This is not Monte Carlo simulation as has been discussed below, but rather a very simple illustrative example. This will further illustrate the points about in my previous post (and do also read the comments for some more […]

Fooled by the Black Swan

Is your organisation one black swan away from disaster? Are you taking hidden risks in the quest for success, and using hope as your only risk management tool? Nassim Taleb’s books should be required reading for life Nassim Taleb is one of my new favourite authors. I’m actually a little slow on the uptake here […]

Why premium size matters (more than you think)

Most people involved with insurance recognise that more premium is better (ceteris paribus of course). This is usually true (and occasionally not) but while some of the reasons are obvious, there are a variety of more subtle factors to take into account. This post will cover many of these factors, and point out a few […]

Some of the magic behind optimising Google’s search algorithms

…and a lesson about business process optimisation that you should learn The New York Times recently posted an incredibly interesting article about Google, providing more detail about their current search algorithms and processes. Google Keeps Tweaking Its Search Engine is definitely worth a read. Reading the article made we wonder for a moment whether Google […]